Core: Level II  

Level II of the Critical Thought and Inquiry core curriculum includes courses from four subject areas: Culture and Traditions (CTI 200-224); Sacred and Secular (CTI 225-249); Science, Technology and the Human Experience (CTI 250-274); and Power and Justice in Society (CTI 275-299).

CTI 200-224: Culture and Traditions


  • CTI 200: United States Pluralism. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course provides an examination of racial, ethnic, gender, and other types of diversity in American society with the aim of increasing understanding of American pluralism and culture. Through significant written and oral exercises students will evaluate these topics in works of history, ethnography, sociology, autobiography, literature and film.
  • CTI 201: Divas, Death and Dementia on the Operatic Stage. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course offers an introduction to the ways in which gender roles, the act of dying, and madness have determined and influenced operatic discourse from about 1600 to the present. Chiefly through aural and visual experiences, as well as longer written projects, students will evaluate how these traditions have both accommodated and forced men and women into a variety of social and cultural roles.
  • CTI 202: Performance Studies. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course trains students to read aloud a printed work in such a way that they effectively communicate to their audience the meanings and the rich complexities of the text at hand. On the premise that each academic discipline is like a subculture, students will research and analyze in writing the disciplinary cultures and methodologies their chosen text will represent in performance. Students also will analyze the conversations between cultures presented in texts and their own cultures.
  • CTI 203: History and Philosophy of Science. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course examines the development and characteristic intellectual preoccupations of western culture by focusing on changing notions of scientific knowledge. Students will interpret the history of science in light of philosophical theories. Essays and class discussion will examine origins of scientific knowledge and the degree to which current conceptions of scientific knowledge may be historically shaped.
  • CTI 204: Cultural Values and Visual Art. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course is an introduction to the study of visual imagery as a medium through which core cultural values find expression. Through class discussion, essay examinations and an extended research paper students will demonstrate a clear grasp of the fundamental beliefs and values of several different worldviews.
  • CTI 207: The Harriman Arts Program Events. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course is a study that puts the Harriman Arts Program events into the context of the curriculum: the experiences of the performances are the subject, and readings and class sessions will provide enhancement background for them. The interdisciplinary features of the course include observation and listening to musical and dance performances, study of performance traditions, biographical study, and cultural and performance history.
  • CTI 208: Women Writers and World Literature. 4 cr. hrs.
    An introduction to women's literature (literature by women about women), specifically to the novel of the twentieth century, from various world perspectives. The history, geography and culture (including such topics as religion, social norms, economy, racial and ethnic concerns, and political events) of specific countries and regions of the world will add to a greater understanding of women's experience of these novels as well as their search for identity, fulfillment and self expression. Brief discussion of theory concerning women's writing will add to the students' appreciation of the act of writing as a mode of self-expression and self-exploration as well as an act of communication.
  • CTI 210: Film Worlds. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course uses films as texts in order to explore the social, historical and cultural contexts the films depict. Interdisciplinarity is sought in the methods roughly analogous to those used in literary and historical investigation. The course will introduce students to new ways of seeing; they will watch a film against a complex matrix of interdisciplinarity that will confront their own cultural assumptions.
  • CTI 214: Bioethics, Ethical Traditions, and the Variety of Health Care Choices. 4 cr. hrs.
    Students will compare ethical judgments that are framed by Western bioethics with those framed by global ethics and other cultural and moral traditions. Students will critically appraise healthcare practices through case studies that illustrate selected life transitions, and challenges in healthcare management and public health. This course draws upon philosophy, anthropology and nursing/healthcare disciplines.
  • CTI 215: Trust, Betrayal, and Forgiveness. 4 cr. hrs.
    The course will inquire into the nature and value of trust, betrayal, and forgiveness or, more generally, in the field of personal relationships, relation, perturbation, and reconciliation.  It will approach these topics through philosophical analysis and literary methods. Students will read and develop philosophical analyses of the key concepts and write scenarios (biographical, autobiographical, historical, and/or imaginative) that implicate the three main themes. The scenarios will be critiqued for their adequacy in light of the demands of philosophical coherence, and the philosophical analyses will be critiqued in light of their capacity to deal with the nuances of the scenarios. This approach will be extended through reading and analyzing selected works of literature. Students will also consider the nature and relations of the methods, philosophical and literary, that are used for understanding and appreciating human relations. The approaches used are philosophical and literary.
  • CTI 216: Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle. 4 cr. hrs.
    The development of modern mass media and the synthesis of art and entertainment both have their genesis in Richard Wagner’s operas, especially in his epic Der Ring des Nibelungen. This course will explore the context and content of the 15-hour cycle, Wagner’s influence on 20th century art, politics, and the complexity of multi-media expression in cultural formation. The ways in which his thematic materials are made manifest in cinema will also be investigated. Particular attention will be given to answering the questions: Why (and how) do artistic expressions cause controversy? How does art contribute to cultural formation and ideology? When does art become entertainment (and vice-versa)? 



  • Dr. Ron Witzke, Professor of Music
  • Mr. Juan Rangel, Adjunct Instructor of Core Curriculum
  • Dr. Cecelia Robinson, Professor of English
  • Mr. Jay Carter, Adjunct Instructor of Music
  • Ms. Nano Nore, Professor of Art
  • Dr. Ken Alpern, Professor of Oxbridge Honors Program
  • Dr. Susan Myers, Professor of French and Chair, Department of Languages
  • Dr. Elizabeth Sperry, Professor of Philosophy and Chair


CTI 225-249: Sacred and Secular


  • CTI 226: Religion and Meaning. 4 cr. hrs.
    This class will explore how religion, particularly the religion of the biblical tradition, serves to guide people in the creation of meaning for understanding both the world they live in and its ethical structures. Using biblical texts and secondary readings from the discipline of sociology, students will explore specifically the secularizing effects of modernization on religion and ways that various religious traditions have responded to the problem of secularism. 
  • CTI 227: WWJD: What Was Jesus Doing? 4 cr. hrs.
    The course explores portrayals of the Jesus in both ancient and modern literature.  Students will read the four canonical gospels, as well as selections from extra-canonical gospels.  Students will also study diverse modern, critical interpretations of Jesus to discern the significance of Jesus' life and work.  The course will employ the sociology of knowledge as an interdisciplinary lens through which to interpret varying interpretations of Jesus.
  • CTI 229: Christianity and Tyranny. 4 cr. hrs.
    Using the disciplines of literature and theology, this course addresses the question of how one can live under a repressive regime. Through close reading, class discussion and the presentation of a position paper, students will apply biblical principles to the ethical dilemmas raised by this question of responding to tyranny.
  • CTI 230: Religious Diversity in Early Modern Drama. 4 cr. hrs.
    In the late sixteenth century, “the Islamic world overlapped with Christendom, and the Ottoman empire included a huge Jewish population. The Turkish empire was a porous body politic, allowing the entry and exit of various Christians, Jews, and Muslims who participated in its economic life” (Daniel Vitkus, Turning Turk, 18). In the early modern period, international commerce introduced England to the Mediterranean world and thus shaped English identity not only through firsthand contact with but also through representation of different cultures and religions. This course will investigate early modern representations of three major faith traditions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – through the study of literary texts and contemporary critical methodologies. Because international trade informed and shaped much of the early modern experience with the Muslim world, economic contexts will inform the study of literary texts.
  • CTI 231: Biblical Messianism and Handel's Messiah. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course examines the modes of 17th and 18th century biblical interpretation that stood behind the composition of Charles Jennen's libretto to Handel's Messiah. Students will demonstrate their understanding of a variety of musical, theological and biblical topics through written responses to aural exercises, oral presentations and weekly writing assignments.
  • CTI 232: Relationships: Psychological, Religious and Societal Perspectives. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course will examine the diverse ways in which human beings form, maintain and dissolve relationships with each other and with the divine. Students will demonstrate their engagement with class discussions, readings and lectures through weekly in-class writing exercises and application exercises (such as debates or simulations).
  • CTI 237. The Christian Heritage. 4 cr. hrs.
    A study of the Christian heritage, including an exploration of its scriptural, theological, and ethical foundations. The course will offer a very basic survey of the Christian scriptures, followed by a careful and thorough study of the history of Christian thought. The course will also explore selected ethical issues that have emerged in the course of Christian history.
  • CTI 238. Religion in the Modern Age. 4 cr. hrs.
    The course explores the role of religion in personal and social life. It will study the important and primary role that religious experience plays in the origins and development of religious traditions, focusing on the scriptural and Christian religious traditions. The course further examines the role of religion in society to develop a cohesive source of meaning, the importance of religion in a modern, secular age, and the impact that scientific thought has had on Christian theology.
  • CTI 239. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 4 cr. hrs.
    The course offers a comparative overview of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in their comparative histories, varying theological and ethical centers, and scriptures. While the course examines all three religions from a single disciplinary perspective (i.e. religious studies), the comparative method invites questions that may only be appreciated by imposing methods and assumptions from other disciplinary, i.e., non-religious-studies, perspectives.
  • CTI 240. Reading the Bible: Then and Now. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course explores the reading of the Bible in the context of the history of Christianity. After surveying various ways of reading the Bible throughout Christian history, special attention is given to modern and postmodern modes of biblical interpretation. Students will learn how such contemporary modes of reading take place in conversation with other academic disciplines: cultural anthropology, narrative criticism, and reader response criticism.
  • CTI 244: The Epics of Heaven and Hell. 4 cr. hrs.
    A study of two significant works of world literature:  The Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost.  Students will appreciate two examples of the heroic epic and understand how each author reads and reinterprets earlier epic literature and the Christian tradition.  They will explore the two cultural worlds represented by the poems (high middle ages and early modern) and reflect on how the works provide two different readings of the Christian theological tradition and the Bible (Thomist Roman Catholic and Protestant).
  • CTI 245: God, Nature and Science. 4 cr. hrs.
    Students will learn essential features of the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, as well as religious, primarily Christian, arguments both challenging and affirming the theory. Evolution grounds human existence interdependently within nature, not over and above nature, a status that religion can either endorse or challenge. The course explores biblical responses to the issue of human ecological responsibility, including the study of both "green-friendly" and "not-so-green-friendly" texts. Offered every spring. Cross-listed as REL 276.



  • Dr. Brad Chance, Coordinator, Professor of Religion and Chair 
  • Dr. Milton Horne, Professor of Religion
  • Dr. Sara Morrison, Assistant Professor of English
  • Dr. Ann Marie Rigler, Professor of Music
  • Dr. Pat Schoenrade, Professor of Psychology


CTI 250-274: Science, Technology and the Human Experience

Courses (lab component required)

  • CTI 250. Earthbeat. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course is an environmental study that examines the impact of the human population on the health and sustainability of the environment. With a lab component it integrates the biological and environmental sciences, seeking to answer whether it is possible to ensure a sustainable future. The course uses a "problem-solving" pedagogy requiring students to produce their responses in written and oral forms. This course will meet teaching certification requirement for an environmental science course or for a biological laboratory science.
  • CTI 251. The Science of Forensics. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course is focused on the application of scientific techniques to the collection and analysis of evidence used for investigating criminal cases. In the context of investigating criminal cases students will gain an understanding of scientific methodology, analytical thought and techniques used in the analysis of hair and fiber evidence, drugs and toxic substances, arson and explosion, firearms and tools, and biological specimens. The legal and ethical issues surrounding scientific integrity in the collection, handling, and analysis of evidence will also be explored. Students will use scientific thought and experimentation in the natural sciences to understand the social implications of natural and man-made fibers. In addition to written lab reports, students will write two research papers and make one oral presentation. This course will meet the teaching certification requirement for a physical laboratory science.
  • CTI 252. DNA: Politics, Law and Ethics. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course explores the political, legal and ethical issues that challenge our society's utilization of an increased knowledge of DNA structure and function. The course develops statistical application through analysis of lab work, and written and oral communication through various kinds of class reports. This course will meet teaching certification requirement for a biological laboratory science.
  • CTI 253. Energy: Its Sources and Responsible Use. 4 cr. hrs.
    A science course approaching the topic of energy from the discipline of physics but involving, at the application level, the larger considerations of individual and societal responsibility, which transcend the paradigms and boundaries of conventional physics courses. Interdisciplinary with philosophy (ethics). One laboratory period per week. This course will meet the teaching certification requirement for a physical laboratory science.
  • CTI 254. The Mind: The Master Pharmacist. 4 cr. hrs.
    This science course will use three different disciplines to explore the behavioral correlates that underlie addiction to psychoactive agents. Foundational will be the establishment of the process of science (scientific method) to explore basic principles of the study of drugs (pharmacology) that influence neural systems (neurobiology) and induce changes in behavior (psychology). Lab sessions will reinforce content and allow for analytical and critical development of key concepts. This course will meet teaching certification requirement for a biological laboratory science.
  • CTI 255. Sports Science: Physics Applications and Ethical Issues. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course investigates various sports-related activities in terms of the physical principles that govern them and analyzes athletic performance from the viewpoint of a physical scientist. In addition, the role that technology plays in the improvement of athletic performance is addressed along with ethical questions related to how athletes attempt to enhance athletic performance. This course will meet the teaching certification requirement for a physical laboratory science.
  • CTI 256. The Science of Sight and Sound. 4 cr. hrs.
    The nature of sound and light is addressed in the context of our auditory and visual senses. Physics of sound, anatomy and physiology of the ear and the pathway to the cerebral cortex, and the psychology of perception are drawn upon to understand the functioning of musical instruments as well as our perception of music. The richness of color sensation in nature and art is addressed by similarly drawing on the physics of light, as well as the anatomy, physiology and psychology of vision. Technological approaches to correcting ocular and auditory defects are addressed as well as means of enhancing or extending the senses of sight and hearing. This course will meet teaching certification requirement for a physical laboratory science.
  • CTI 257. Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases: Local and Global Issues. 4 cr. hrs.
    Infectious diseases are undergoing a global resurgence due to factors such as human population demographics and behavior, antibiotic resistance, environmental degradation, political and economic decisions, and public health policies. Diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, measles, and polio continue to be of global concern, while other diseases such as Ebola, "Mad Cow" disease, and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome make their appearance. This course will meet teaching certification requirement for a biological laboratory science.
  • CTI 258. Astronomy and Cosmology: Observations and Theories of the Universe. 4 cr. hrs.
    An interdisciplinary examination of how our conception of the universe has evolved from that of selected early societies to the modern worldview based on observations and the theories which explain them. There will be one required nighttime observing session or lab per week. This course will meet teaching certification requirement for a physical laboratory science.
  • CTI 259: The Ecology of Food 4 cr. hrs.
    The Ecology of Food is an exploration of food from the following perspectives: the importance of food (requirements for human health, supply and demand), the distribution of starvation and abundance, the ecological and economic reasons for this distribution, the amount and sources of energy involved in food production, the role of food production in sustainability issues (water, energy and soil/nutrient supply), the economics of food and food production, various forms of agriculture used to produce food and, finally, food security in a global marketplace in an age of terrorism. (Lab science)
  • CTI 260: Sustaiinability and the World's Resources. 4 cr. hrs.
    Sustainability and the World’s Resources is an exploration into the scientific and public policy issues surrounding the effects of global development on the world’s natural resources.  Resources to be investigated include the air we breathe, sources of energy, the world’s water supply, and the extraction of virgin materials such as metal ores. The recycling of metals, plastics and other materials will also be considered.  Relevant scientific concepts will be explored, as well as available sustainable practices for utilization of these natural resources.


  • Dr. Maggie Sherer, Coordinator, Assistant Professor of Physics and Mathematics
  • Dr. Blane Baker, Professor of Physics and Mathematics
  • Dr. Patrick Bunton, Professor of Physics and Chair
  • Dr. Paul Klawinski, Professor of Biology 
  • Dr. Jason Morrill, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Dr. Jennifer Moody, Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Dr. Scott Falke, Professor of Biology


    CTI 275-299: Power and Justice in Society


  • CTI 277. Deviance and Discipline: Crime and Punishment in Historical Perspective. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course asks students to study and apply the content and methods of history, sociology, literature and art history to the topic of criminal justice in eighteenth and nineteenth century England. Through their reading and written assignments students will grapple with a variety of materials, including statistical studies of crime, social theories of deviance, literature such as the play The Beggar's Opera and the fiction of Charles Dickens, and the paintings of William Hogarth.
  • CTI 279. Economic Development and Cultural Change. 4 cr. hrs.
    The course introduces students to the economic, social, political and institutional mechanisms necessary to bring about rapid and large-scale improvements in the standard of living for the masses of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Utilizing a case-study method of investigation, students will write in-class and out-of-class essays to demonstrate their understanding of both the content and the method.
  • CTI 280. World War II and the Holocaust: Problems of Power and Justice (4 cr. hrs.)
    The course examines the ethical and practical problems involved in fighting even a "just" war. All aspects of the greatest conflict in human history from the rise of Hitler in Germany to the Holocaust to the controversial use of the atomic bomb to end the war will be examined. Students will debate and submit argumentative essays regarding a variety of issues that arose in the context of the war. (Interdisciplinary social science course)
  • CTI 281. Medicine, Money, and Morals. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course explores issues in the area of biomedical ethics. The interdisciplinary origin of biomedical ethics facilitates investigation into the societal impact of medicine, morality and economics. Students explore competing power structures within the healthcare industry from both an historical and contemporary perspective. Students analyze justice within existing and ideal healthcare structures with particular attention to justice for the vulnerable.
  • CTI 283. Synopsis of United States History and Government. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course is a panoramic overview of United States history and government from the era of the American Revolution and the Articles of Confederation to contemporary debates over major constitutional issues. The content and methods of this course draw from the disciplines of history, political economy/science and philosophy. This course will meet the teaching certification requirement for U.S. history and government.
  • CTI 284. School and Society in the United States. 4 cr. hrs.
    This course examines the development of American schooling within the context of social history. The course focuses on four themes: the differing (often conflicting) concepts about schooling held by leading educational thinkers, the public and public policy makers; the changing relationships among schools and other education entities such as church and family; the societal and policy issues that have shaped the American educational system; and public schooling as a promised or real agent of social change. Students in this course are expected to analyze these forces from all perspectives and to critically discern how and why the current school system evolved. Students will also be expected to identify the origins of current educational issues, be able to analyze and critically discuss those issues and formulate a personal position and/or plan of action based on that understanding. Specific lenses for analysis will include race, class, ethnicity, gender, religion and the intersection of these factors in the construction of power and justice in/through schooling in the United States.
  • CTI 285. Comparative Revolutions. 4 cr. hrs.
    We often label significant moments of change 'revolutions.' Such moments in time often reveal the significant differences between competing ideas and the reality of power and justice. This course will guide students through a comparative study of at least two revolutions, for example the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917. Some of the key questions involved in this course will include: How do we define revolution? What causes them? What influences their outcomes? Are revolutions primarily political events or must they also involve social and/or economic change? Who participates in revolution and why? Are some revolutions failures and others successful? In some years, the course will examine different 'revolutions,' such as the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, or the Chinese Communist Revolution of the 20th century.

CTI 286. Gender, Power and Justice. 4 cr. hrs.
Gender, like race and class, is one of the fundamental categories that have effected if not determined one's experience of power and justice. This course looks in particular at the experiences of women and men from the 18th century to the present. It examines both the theory and reality of women's roles in the family, the work place, and the state and how those have changed over time. This includes topics such as gender and the workplace, gender in the family, and gender and citizenship.



  • Dr. Elaine Reynolds, Coordinator, Professor of History and Chair 
  • Dr. Michael Cook, John W. Boatwright Chair Professor of Economics
  • Dr. Donna Gardner, Professor of Education and Chair 
  • Dr. Thomas Howell, Professor of History

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